With a wish for good luck, the former Master and apprentice part ways after a bittersweet reunion amid the final days of the Clone Wars.
Lucasfilm.com recently explored the first meeting between Ahsoka Tano and Anakin Skywalker. Here, StarWars.com bookends that examination with a look at their goodbye in the Clone Wars.
No one’s ever really gone, but in Star Wars — as in real life — sometimes a farewell has more finality than we at first realize.
We thought Ahsoka Tano and her Master Anakin Skywalker may have parted ways for good when Tano decided to leave the Jedi Order at the end of Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 5. Falsely accused of a brutal bombing at the Jedi Temple, Anakin’s faith in his Padawan never faltered, but we can’t say the same for her belief in the Jedi Order, or the Council’s support of one of their own. At the end of the ordeal, the Jedi apologized, but Ahsoka still decided to walk away, leaving her lightsabers and her friends behind.
That is, until The Clone Wars was saved and Season 7 brought the Siege of Mandalore to the screen. In “Old Friends Not Forgotten,” Ahsoka, Anakin, and Obi-Wan Kenobi are brought together for a bittersweet reunion with Bo-Katan Kryze. While out on her own, Ahsoka has been working with the Mandalorian and gathering intel on the renegade Maul, the former Sith Lord who killed the Duchess Satine and stole the throne of Mandalore away from the rightful rulers. Everyone around that table has a personal vibro axe to grind with Maul, but it’s not the Jedi way to spend your days plotting revenge, so some of them hide their anger better than others.
From the start, the reunion of Ahsoka and Anakin is uneasy and awkward. In a reversal of roles from when they first met amid the Battle of Christophsis, it’s Anakin who seems eager and a bit flustered, while Ahsoka is cool, calm, and collected. Her focus is on the task at hand, not her personal feelings about being back with Skywalker and the 501st Legion, even if she’s only a guest. While Skywalker rationalizes that her path has led her exactly where she needed to be, once again showing that unwavering faith in his former student, Obi-Wan is skeptical. Or as he puts it, “cautiously optimistic.”
Clearly Ahsoka has been missed. Artoo rushes to greet her enthusiastically and Anakin can barely contain his excitement. After a tense exchange — Ahsoka is, after all, there to ask the Republic to lend a hand on yet another battlefront, waging war on Mandalore — Skywalker finally gets the chance to show his former student her surprise.
Captain Rex and the boys have painted their helmets to match Ahsoka’s facial markings, a line-up of loyal soldiers who still insist on calling her “Commander” even though she’s no longer a part of the Jedi Order and thus a general for the Republic. This small act of solidarity is a touching reminder that Ahsoka has fought alongside the clones for years, and their respect for her remains. But it’s also a chilling reminder of events to come. The clones have eked out their own identities with uniquely painted armor. Although they cannot know it yet, when the Empire takes hold they will be forced to give up those pieces of individuality for good.
Almost sheepishly, Anakin presents Ahsoka with a plain box, a gift for his friend. But the tender moment is interrupted by the blaring of an alarm, as word reaches Kenobi that General Grievous has attacked Coruscant and kidnapped Chancellor Palpatine. In a moment, everything changes. All resources are immediately diverted away from any potential help for Mandalore and its people.
But as a parting gift, the 501st is divided at Anakin’s suggestion, so half the soldiers can aid Ahsoka on her mission to capture Maul for the Republic, while the rest travel to the galaxy’s heart and ensure the end of the Clone Wars. “Thanks for the support, as always,” Tano tells Skywalker, an echo of every time he’s had her back in the three years they’ve fought together on the battlefield. He may not have wanted a Padawan when she got assigned to him, but he clearly sees her as much more than a student and apprentice. “That’s what friends are for,” he says.
The real present is Ahsoka’s lightsabers, now glowing a brilliant blue. “I took care of them. They’re good as new,” Anakin tells her. “Maybe a little better.” With the support of the troopers and her lightsabers returned to her, Ahsoka is ready to face Maul and join the Siege of Mandalore. But she can’t know that this will be the last time she’ll see her friend, Anakin Skywalker, before he is turned to the darkness.
The last thing she says is simple. “Good luck!” Kenobi may believe there’s no such thing, but Anakin and Ahsoka know otherwise. And then the two friends part ways.
It’s a bittersweet goodbye when we know where fate will take them. Ahsoka succeeds in capturing Maul, but even in the glow of hyperspace, the turmoil on Coruscant reaches her. Through the Force, she senses something terribly wrong as he falls to the dark side just before Order 66 is swiftly declared. And the next time they meet, the former Jedi Master and his grown-up apprentice, it will not be the same Anakin who stands before Ahsoka Tano. It will be Darth Vader, the man who effectively killed Skywalker. Although it will not be the last time Ahsoka must confront her past and Anakin's role in it, as fans see in Star Wars Rebels and Ahsoka.
All episodes of Ahsoka are now streaming, only on Disney+.